WASHINGTON – Final guidelines to assist meat and poultry establishments that want to improve operations by using in-plant video monitoring are now available, announced the US Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service.

The compliance guide, titled Compliance Guidelines for Use of Video or Other Electronic Monitoring or Recording Equipment in Federally Inspected Establishments, is intended to make firms aware that video or other electronic monitoring or recording equipment may be used in federally inspected establishments where meat and poultry are processed. Should an establishment use video monitoring or recording equipment, the guidelines highlight the agency's expectations.

"The recommendations included in this compliance guide may further ensure the humane handling of livestock, as well as maintain the safety of our food supply and the integrity of federally inspected plants," said Al Almanza, FSIS administrator. "I encourage meat and poultry establishments nationwide to utilize the technology."

Video or other electronic recording equipment can help meat and poultry establishments ensure livestock are handled humanely, good commercial practices are being followed, product inventory is properly monitored and their facility is adequately secure. Records from video or other electronic monitoring or recording equipment may also be used to meet FSIS' record-keeping requirements.

The guidelines published Aug. 26 are recommendations and not a regulatory requirement.The guide is available online.